Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Green Corridor -Base Camp

A couple of weeks ago I undertook to explore and document the "green corridor" on behalf of cycling and greenways enthusiasts across the globe. I feel a little bit like someone who promised to go off and climb Everest, only to return triumphantly to announce I had found the base camp.

I ditched one wheel (my cargo bike) and cycled off through East Coast Park to find Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. The ride through East Coast Park is excellent and completely traffic free. When you get to the end of Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands you have to compete to an extent with traffic by I have found a pragmatic  route which could easily be used for a link park connector to bridge East Coast Park with the Green Corridor. If you are taking this route don't forget to pass the Palmer Road Mosque (above left) which sits on a small hill nestled beside the ECP elevated motorway.

The station is the southernmost tip of the old railway line and was not accessible to the public on the day I was there, but the old building looks fantastic. The railway line initially ran within Singapore but around 1920 bridged across into Malaysia. It was used to transit Malaysia tin and rubber for processing and onward shipping.

It was envisaged that this terminus would eventually provide a direct connection with Calais -what an amazing greenway that would have made! 

Maybe for this reason the station is much more of a statement that those that follow on the trail the old railway line North. Lots more historical information on the station is available on a number of websites but I found this one on the Rail Corridor particularly useful as well as this blog by Kylene Wu which has great photos of the interior.

The clock on the side of the station had a very British feel to it and similar to those you still find at a number of older London rail stations.

In fact the smaller stations on the line also have a very British feel. They could easily be Carrickfergus or Whitehead.

At the rear of the station there are long covered platforms which are well preserved and would form a wonderful greenway entrance and plenty of commerical and business opportunities to meet the needs of the new flow of people.

 Further back you start to get a feel for the width and space available for the Green Corridor and linear park and how it might look when in use. Clearly as you move further down the rail track the available land narrows. But if you look at the success of the Great Western Greenway you will see a tourist attraction able to support hotels and restaurants -something the old station could easily be used for. The photo above looks back towards the station platforms.

 And like all the best former railway lines that become greenways this one has wonderful relics of the old railway line preserved on route (like the signal point on the left) and ready for prospect businesses to renovate and move into.

Singapore has many fabulous cycle routes, much green space and some fantastic tourist attractions -but this prospective linear park along the old railway route, linked to the Park Connectors -could well be the finest of them all.

Now that I have managed base camp, I will look to find access a little further up the old line and provide a further blog update on the section of the route that runs towards Buona Vista and on to Bukit Timah.

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